Reeducating Muscle Force Control in Older Persons through Strength Training

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In conjunction with muscular weakness, older adults demonstrate impaired control of movements requiring submaximal force. Previous research has demonstrated strength training improved performance of sit-to-stand and gait tasks in frail elders, yet the nature of this neuromuscular adaptation remains unclear. Current understanding of age-related neuromuscular change suggests that remodeling of motor units occurs, including increased motor unit size and force, which leads to alterations in the neural strategies for force and movement control. Although the overall capacity to generalize training effects across tasks or exercise modalities appears impaired, there are positive, specific training-related adaptations that occur in elders. These observations hold potential for improving the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions.

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